Natural puzzle #20

Spotted yesterday in the garden – a cool season migrant from the hills.

A small prize for the first correct answer.


A subtly marked …


… forest songster

The Solution:

  1. Firstly it’s a whistler – the robust head and bill are definitive.
  2. That means there are three possibilities: Olive, Rufous and Golden.
  3. Olive Whistler is well out of range, but one was seen recently along Forest Creek Castlemaine – this one can be ruled out though as Olive Whistlers are dark buff overall, apart from a pale throat.
  4. Rufous Whistlers, apart from adult males which this one clearly isn’t, have prominent streaking on the throat and breast in both immatures and adult females.
  5. This leaves the Golden Whistler – it’s obviously not an adult male. This one looks to be an immature – the pale rufous on the upper parts in the bottom photograph, while not that obvious, leave this as the most likely ID – the females can be very similar to immatures, which also tend to have a pale base to the bill. One further note – you may be just be able to make out the pale yellow wash on the vent and under tail coverts – this is a useful diagnostic feature for ‘grey’ Golden Whistlers.

I’m going to award two prizes, first to Alison Rowe for proposing a Golden Whistler and secondly to Anne Brophy for suggesting it was a juvenile. Thanks to you all for the interest in this post and for the great suggestions regarding the bird’s identity.

27 responses to “Natural puzzle #20

  1. Female hooded robin??? Greg

  2. A female Golden Whistler?

  3. I agree, a female Golden Whistler

  4. White edge to tail? A female Pink Robin?

  5. Juvenile Golden Whistler

  6. shrike thrush? beak is too short

  7. Jacky Winter?

  8. olive whistler

  9. I reckon it’s an immature male Golden Whistler

  10. Celia M. Browne

    Female Olive Whistler?? Celia

  11. juvenile male jacky winter

  12. Anne davidson

    Jacky winter

  13. Jenny Indian

    Is it the female Golden Whistler? I’ve heard them calling around the garden up here – in the hills/Stanley – quite recently.

    Cheers Jenny.


    How about a golden whistler?

    John Wood

    Sent from my iPad


  15. Juvenile female golden whistler?

  16. Juvenile female golden whistler

  17. Think it’s a female golden whistler. Regards. Ross Hatton

  18. Jannine Bennett

    Grey shrike thrush we think!

    Jannine and Reg


  19. Bruce Donaldson

    Olive Whistler (female?)

  20. Female Flame Robin.

  21. Marlene Lyell

    Too late but think Golden Whistler.

  22. Bruce Donaldson

    Female Olive Whistler

  23. female golden whistler?

  24. Can’t go past imature Golden Whistler

  25. So what was it Geoff, or don’t you know?

  26. Juvenile Olive Whistler? Bit of a cheat guess as someone else reported one locally.

    By the way, are you interested in orchid sites? With John Van Tiggelen, I found a midge-orchid (Corunastylis sp) in the firewood thinned area between Mia Mia Trk, Welshman Reef-Tip Rd and Mia Mia Rd a couple of weeks ago – slipped my mind til now. Iphone pics didn’t work but the orchid is probably referable to something like Corunastylis/Genoplesium rufum – I’m still sorting through books after moving house so can’t find up to date ref books to help.




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